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Saturday, January 14, 2006

Painting

I've written, here, about my process, about discovering that I work just the same with paint or textile...come to think of it, the same way with writing, too, poetry at least. What's intruiguing me at present, though, is What Comes After. When I've finished a textile piece, it hangs around the house for a wee bit, and is then put away. I'll take them out occasionally, after a year or two, to remind me what they look like...often, they seem smaller than they did. Not as bright, or as complex. Perhaps they need a bit more stitching... but usually, it's that because I have moved on, as an artist, the piece no longer satisfies me, and I itch to change it. I usually ignore that itch. I try to remember that I was satisfied, at that moment, with the outcome, and that seeing the development of the work is more important than having each piece meet my increasingly different (higher, perhaps) standards. It's a discipline, akin to remembering that you really can't use every technique in every piece!

Paintings, though. Paintings pile up in the upstairs hall, and in the spare bedroom. Before they get there, though, they usually hang somewhere. The downstairs hall, perhaps, or the music room, the living room, even. Sometimes, like the textiles, one will say, nope, not quite...and it will return upstairs to be finished. After a few months on the wall, though, it's pretty safe. And while it's there, I look at it, look and look and look. Not critically. Just seeing what is there to be seen. And there always seems to be something new to be seen, understood. Perhaps it's because I work abstractly...I continue to find meanings, stray thoughts, odd passages in the paintings, that I didn't see earlier. Not that you can't do that with representational paintings...you can. But I work in abstract, at least in part, to encourage my mind to skip a layer of thinking, the assignation of obvious meaning, if you like, so that it can wander, thinking without thinking, in the colours, textures and forms, and draw its own conclusions.

Somehow, I don't get that depth of interest in a textile piece, much as I enjoy working in textile. Or I haven't until recently. Working with the lutradur has provided me with a way of working which is much closer to the paintings...it remains to be seen, though, if I will one day hang a textile piece and be as fascinated by it as I am by a painting.

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